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Seven Northern California Gurdwaras Open Doors As 180,000 Evacuate Region In Wake Of Oroville Dam Emergency







More than 180,000 people in Northern California, USA, were ordered to evacuate late on Sunday, February 12, 2017, due to erosion of the emergency spillway in the nation’s tallest dam.

Gurdwaras in the area opened their doors to people in need of places to spend the night.

Earlier in the evening, California’s Department of Water Resources said the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway, which prevents water from rushing over the top of the dam when levels are high, was in danger of failing and sending an “uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.”

Thousands of residents from counties including Yuba, Butte and Sutter were told to leave their homes immediately. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted that individuals evacuating the Yuba County area could seek shelter in at least seven local Sikh houses of worship. Sacramento is about an hour and a half south of Oroville Dam.

Darrell Steinberg @Mayor_Steinberg -
"Sikh Temples in Sacramento region are open for people evacuated around #OrovilleDam. Am told they have food ready & all in need are welcome

“We’re well prepared,” Dr. Gurtej Singh Cheema of Sacramento’s Capital Sikh Center said. The gurdwara is one of the closest for residents leaving Yuba City. “We have meals, shelter. We can accommodate at least 50 people here.”

Gurtej Singh said that after evacuation orders were announced, members of the gurdwara delivered enough bedding for 50 people to spend the night at the gurdwara. They also prepared hot tea and meals for evacuees to eat once they arrive.

“We have three families over here right now, and we’re expecting at least 10 more [to spend the night],” Gurtej Singh added. Overall, he said that gurdwara alone had already received 30 calls from individuals saying they were on their way, fighting gridlocked traffic in the area. 

“We’re glad we can help and are available,” he added.

[Courtesy: The Huffington Post. Edited for]

February 14, 2017


Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ), February 15, 2017, 6:28 AM.

“Na ko bairee nahee bigaana sagal sang hum ka-o ban aa-ee” [GGS:1299] - “No one is my enemy, no one a stranger. I get along with everyone.” Seven gurdwaras have opened their doors effortlessly for the evacuees. This is not the first time. Not long ago such a dire emergency happened in Joshimath (Uttrakand, India) when due to heavy floods some 800 resident Muslims could not offer their Eid prayers. Generally there was incipient religious hatred and intolerance. But Sikhs rose to the occasion and showed that not all was rotten or ugly, when they readily offered their local gurdwara for Muslim worship. The Muslims wore their traditional bright new clothes and heartedly embraced the Sikhs waiting outside. They were no doubt fed with Guru da Langar as well. What better example could we give of Sikhi in our daily lives.

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